- Black boys are almost half as likely to end up incarcerated and twice as likely to graduate from college if they are raised in a home with their two parents. Tweet This
- Equally striking, we also find that Black children from stable two-parent homes do better than white children from single-parent homes when it comes to their risk of poverty or prison, and their odds of graduating from college. Tweet This
The culture wars over family structure that raged in the 20th century — wars over single parenthood, marriage, and the importance of fathers — seemed to have ended in the early 21st century. From academia to the policy world, most sensible people acknowledged the importance of strong and stable families for kids. Hailing from the Ivory Tower in 2015, scholars from Brookings and Princeton reported on the new scientific consensus: “most scholars now agree that children raised by two biological parents in a stable marriage do better than children in other family forms across a wide range of outcomes.”
In the public square, the consensus view about the importance of fathers was best articulated by Barack Obama, in speeches at churches and colleges across the country. He underlined the value of fathers for kids and his own dedication to breaking the cycle of fatherlessness he experienced as a boy. “And so my whole life, I’ve tried to be for Michelle and my girls what my father was not for my mother and me,” he told the graduates of Morehouse College in 2013. “I want to break that cycle where a father is not at home — where a father is not helping to raise that son or daughter. I want to be a better father, a better husband, a better man.” No one could doubt that President Obama understood how much fathers mattered for their kids.
But now, progressives are calling into question even the kids-benefit-from-fathers argument Obama made so powerfully and poignantly. This month, for instance, The Harvard Gazette ran an article entitled, “Why living in a two-parent home isn’t a cure-all for Black students.” Written by Harvard sociologist Christina Cross, it spotlights her research showing that poor Black kids with two parents do not do better on a few educational outcomes compared to their peers with single parents.
Cross’ article echoed themes from an earlier article, “The Myth of the Two-Parent Home,” that she published in The New York Times that claimed “living apart from a biological parent does not carry the same cost for black youths as for their white peers."